I remember volunteering for an anti-trafficking campaign at my university in Hilo, Hawaii one afternoon. As students walked by, we told them facts, showed them pictures, and kept their attention by giving them logo pens or bracelets. I’m not sure how I got involved with this or if it was just for school credit. That doesn’t matter, though, because simply spreading the word about the reality of human trafficking is one of the most impactful efforts we can make to put an end to it. The hardest part about that afternoon? Believing the facts I was telling eachpasserby..
Though, as you research modern day slavery, you start to remove those thoughts of disbelief and realize how these facts could possibly be reality. For example, you may think "How on earth are traffickers making $150 billion a year?" The industry is so profitable because there is a substantial supply of human beings, and unlike drugs and alcohol, human beings can be sold again and again. You may also think, "Well how is it that there are 40 million enslaved, when slavery is illegal in every country, and we hardly see this going on?" CNN came up with this definition of slavery: “Slavery occurs when one person completely controls another person, using violence or the threat of violence to maintain that control, exploits them economically, pays them nothing and they cannot walk away.” This definition fits into situations including forced marriage, sex slavery, child labor and forced labor. Now can you see the numbers adding up?
What Can I Do?
Word of mouth is impactful, and can spread like wildfire with the help of social media and the internet. Volunteering at human trafficking awareness events such as the Walk For Freedom can speak even louder. When people start to speak up, companies and governments take note. The public becomes more aware of indications to look out for, and stricter regulations come into place. Being careful of what we buy is another great way to do your part. Slavery sneaks into our everyday purchases such as coffee, chocolate, and apparel, so purchasing fair trade products can assure that no slave labor was a part of the production of your purchase. Many companies exist to raise awareness and fund projects that fight human trafficking. Here are seven companies doing just that!